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The Fatigue Insider Blog

Surviving a 19 hour flight

Nov 20, 2019 ISS Comments (0)


Air travel these days is already a marathon, but with Qantas' testing the limits of human endurance recently with a 19-hour trial flight, we wanted to provide some tips on surviving an ultra-long haul flight.

1. Stay hydrated
Obviously this involves drinking plenty of water, and even adding electrolytes to maximise your absorption if you want to, but avoiding dehydration requires more than just water intake. Avoiding dehydrating food and drink like caffeine, alcohol, salty foods, and heavy carbohydrates will make you feel much better. Go for leafy greens instead!
2. Set your watch to the local time
Travelling across time zones upsets our circadian rhythms, so set your watch to the local time and try to eat and sleep at the appropriate time for your destination.
3. Apply your SPF
You have much less protection from harmful UVA and UVB rays up in the air, where the ozone layer is thinnest. Make sure you apply and re-apply sunscreen to protect your skin from the sun.
4. Keep your body moving
You want to make sure that you keep your body mobile to avoid Deep Vein Thrombosis. No one’s body is meant to sit in a tiny chair for 19 hours, so doing some exercise on the flight will also make you a little less irritable! The video below suggests setting alarm for every three hours so that you’ll remember to get up, walk around, and do some stretches.
Check out this great video from the Wall Street Journal for more tips on surviving an ultra-long haul flight.



Fatigued cabin crew

Oct 03, 2018 ISS Comments (0)

The airline industry is a growing 24/7 operation, boasting an estimated 39 million flights to be flown worldwide by the end of 2018. Flying passengers across the country, or even across the globe, can create a variety of different challenges for cabin crew, including extended duty periods, highly variable schedules, possible frequent time zone changes, and increased passenger loads.

A study has shown a link between the job characteristics of cabin crew and fatigue. The graph below is an indication of the main work factors that contribute to fatigue amongst cabin crew workers, according to union representatives. Long hours and lack of rest are seen as the main offenders.


Other factors that may contribute to cabin crew fatigue include, but are not limited to:

  • Consecutive duty days
  • Length of layovers
  • Timezone changes
  • Delays
  • Availability for breaks
  • Availability of a healthy meal
  • Passenger disruption
  • Aircraft type swaps

In 2016, a bill was pass that requires airlines to provide cabin crew with a minimum 10-hour rest period between shifts, matching the requirement for pilots. The bill also included a requirement for cabin crew to be included in Fatigue Risk Management Systems, which until that point was only applied to pilots.

In Australia, there are currently no civil aviation regulations governing duty times and rest requirements for cabin crew. Their duty limitations are set contractually, and minimum standards are set by the country in which the cabin crew are employed. Cabin crew are our first responders to a safety event - is it time they are included in fatigue regulations?


For more information on cabin crew fatigue, contact us via Facebook , LinkedIn , Twitter or comment below.








A water cooler conversation

Jun 21, 2018 ISS Comments (0)

Every day deserves to be a day of recognition, celebration and/or awareness of worthy causes. Today, the 21st of June 2018, we get to know our fearless leader, Dr Adam Fletcher, a little more - over an espresso or two (or red wine) - with questions relating to today’s international recognition days and their link with fatigue and sleep.


International Yoga Day

What role do you believe Yoga has in Fatigue Management?

“I can only speak from my personal experience on that question. I have been practicing yoga on a weekly basis for about 7 years, and it has definitely helped me manage stress in my body and mind as well as improve my sleep.”

What relaxation techniques can be used for sleep, fatigue, etc?

“There is a large and growing set of scientific/medical research papers on this question. Some relations techniques require more discipline, and some are quite simple, which is what I personally lean towards. When I am trying to sleep, I simply focus on my breath, and don’t force anything but just let the breath happen.”

World Music Day, also known as Make Music Day

What music do you like to listen to when you are winding down?

“The only time I really listen to calming, classical music is when I am about to sleep; mainly just on a digital classical radio station.”

What music do you listen to, to keep yourself awake?

“Having looked at a variety of research on this topic I am not convinced that music can help a person stay awake for any sustained period. However, I do have different music choices for different types of tasks. Sometimes heavy rock for getting a report done, dance music for processing data and doing analyses and Jazz for reflectively working on strategic questions.”


Winter solstice

What are the long-term effects of less natural light exposure, and the reverse?

“That’s a very difficult question to answer, and maybe impossible. That’s because there are so many effects of light (or lack of it). Without being too wordy, I’d say having a healthy sleep pattern depends on light but many other systems also depend on the downstream effects of light, such as getting Vitamin D and the many benefits that can have on health.”

What are your tips in getting the right amount of natural light exposure during the winter months?

“For healthier circadian rhythms and sleep patterns, the ideal is to get a similar amount of light each day (the brighter the better), although that is impractical for many of us. Unfortunately, many places in the world are not conducive to Vitamin D production for many months of the year, so oral supplementation is necessary”.


If you have questions for Adam, or suggestions for future posts please let us know via email at or leave a comment below.


Do energy drinks give you wings?

Feb 16, 2018 ISS Comments (0)

Energy drinks – there’s no doubt that consuming them will make you feel more awake and alert in the short term, but no amount of added vitamins or supplements are going to turn them into a healthy option for boosting energy levels. Laden with high amounts of caffeine and sugar, these drinks certainly wreak havoc with your sleep. 

Consumption of energy drinks can lead to:

  • Disrupted sleep patterns
  • Drowsiness throughout the day
  • Energy spikes and crashes

A study conducted with college students showed that consuming 3 or more energy drinks per week increased daytime dysfunction due to sleep loss, decreased sleep duration and increased the use of sleep medication amongst the students.

Although many energy drinks contain similar amounts of caffeine per 250ml as a cup of coffee, many of these drinks are sold in larger servings and therefore have higher amounts of caffeine. In addition, a standard energy drink generally contains more sugar than the recommended 25 grams per day!

For more information on energy drinks, contact us via Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or comment below.

Around the world in... 52 hours?

Feb 09, 2018 ISS Comments (0)

The team at ISS are seasoned travellers, working with clients and attending events around the globe. We may have a few around the world trips under our belts, however we certainly aren’t breaking any records like Andrew Fisher.

Andrew, an airline executive, recently circled the globe, flying 3 different airlines in a record-breaking 52 hours and 34 minutes. His trip begun in Shanghai, where he boarded a flight to Auckland, then Buenos Aires and Amsterdam before returning to Shanghai.

Having been in transit for a short total of 5.5 hours, Andrew admitted that travelling continuously is emotionally and physically taxing. When we are travelling long distances, we like to:

  • Plan our trip in a westerly direction where possible
  • Give ourselves enough downtime to shift our circadian clock once we arrive at our final destination
  • Use light and melatonin to help shift our circadian clock
  • Keep hydrated throughout our journey

For more information and tips on travelling, contact us via Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or comment below.





Cheeky little night cap

Jan 17, 2018 ISS Comments (0)

It’s a busy time of year, with work for most of us getting back into the swing of things! It’s very tempting to finish the day with a little night cap before bed. Alcohol can certainly make you sleepy, however, it’s important to remember that the quality of alcohol-induced sleep isn’t fantastic.

Although alcohol can reduce the amount of time it takes for you to fall asleep, it in fact initially acts as a stimulant, inundating the brain with endorphins. Once this stage wears off, alcohol begins to act as a sedative, causing you to feel drowsy and increasing the amount of deep sleep during the first half of the night.

The second half of the night is where disturbances in your sleep begin. These include:

  • Overheating
  • Snoring
  • Sweating
  • Increased need to go to the bathroom

To help ensure you get a good nights rest, we would recommend to keep drinks right before bed to a minimum and ensure you hydrate while drinking.

For more information on alcohol and sleep, contact us via Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or comment below.

Working & Sleeping at High Altitudes

Dec 06, 2017 ISS Comments (0)

We’re currently in Bogota working with a client, where the elevation is 2640 metres above sea level, slightly above 8300 feet. High altitude is considered as altitudes above 8000 feet, where the air pressure is lower, and the percentage of oxygen in the air is significantly reduced. This makes working and sleeping invariably difficult, especially if you have not given your body a chance to acclimatise and are suffering from altitude sickness.

Common symptoms of altitude sickness include headaches, nausea and loss of appetite. Symptoms such as shortness of breath and irregular breathing are also common, creating sleep disturbances and increasing levels of fatigue.

To acclimatise adequately to our current elevation, researchers suggests that approximately two weeks is required. Now we thought we were doing it tough until we discovered ALMA – an observatory in Chile that sits at an elevation of 5050 metres above sea level, which is roughly 16,500 feet. Working at this altitude exposes people to rapid and intermittent low oxygen levels that can cause problems such as acute mountain sickness, excess production of red blood cells, brain swelling, acute pulmonary oedema and sleep disorders.

Our tips to get well adjusted so you can work (or play!) and sleep at high altitudes include:

  • Arriving at least a few days earlier to acclimatise
  • Keep your meals light to assist with your slower digestive system
  • No strenuous exercises
  • Keep hydrated and steer clear of alcohol

For more information on fatigue at high altitudes, contact us via Facebook, LinkedIn or comment below.

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